The Gap is closing 175 stores and laying off 250 in its corporate offices. The company has a handle on what’s gone wrong but worked perfunctorily to fix it. It’s the product. Women want a tight silhouette in their pants. Gaps, traditionally, doesn’t do silhouette. When you think of Gap you think boxy and baggy.
Here’s the environmental rub –and what should have been a wake-up call for the Gap design team: BMI. It stands for body mass index. The BMI for Gap buyers when the brand was young isn’t what is it today, especially with the target market. There are cities of wide-waisted, big-assed people out there today and they need to be clothed. The explosive yoga pants phenomenon is a direct result of this. They stretch, they give a person their slimmest possible profile and they’re inexpensive.
I worked on an obesity project a couple of years ago at which time 78M American’s were classified as obese. It probably has gotten worse.
Gap knows what it has to do. The product needs to change with the times. They need to come up with a cool and witty alternative to yoga pants. Rocking around the clock in their ads with khaki pants aflutter won’t do it today. Gap needs to get back in touch with today’s teens and millennials. Apparently product design is in the hands of 30 and 40 year olds. It’s R&D time.